cover image Have I Got Dogs!

Have I Got Dogs!

William Cole. Viking Children's Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83070-1

Easily the most conventional of the many dog-o-centric titles reviewed this week, Cole and Apple's offering has the bland affability of a well-fed but underactive family pet. A bouncy series of couplets names 15 canines belonging to the frowsy narrator (the 16th, a bull terrier, appears in a silent homage to George Booth, to whom Apple dedicates her work): ``Have I got dogs, pedigreed and mutts-- / I've got so many, people think I'm nuts!'' Then it's onto the introductions, which in their sheer predictability will amuse the youngest readers (``See my dalmatian? Her name is Dot. / She's an easy dog to spot''). Apple's loosely drawn illustrations, however, are a let-down. Few of her dogs resemble their breed types more than superficially, and a number of them, especially the Pekingese and the Chihuahua, look positively feline. The attempt at cheeriness grows--excuse us--dogged. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)